Thursday, March 24, 2011

Postcard Diaspora: Bethel, Ohio

Bethel, Ohio postcard sent 4/19/68 from Denver, shows Denver skyline at night. Postage used: .10 airmail. Message: "Dear Mother, Arrived on schedule. It was cold about 30 last night & they had snow the day before yesterday. It is [illegible] warmer to-day. Will be home to night & will see you Sunday A.M. Love, David" Note: I sent this postcard to original address on 3/25/2011.

So I'm starting a project to return old postcards that I've purchased in bulk over the years to the address they were originally sent to. The project is tentatively entitled "Postcard Diaspora", but that's just because I like the word "diaspora" and really given the fact that I intend to return the postcards to their "homes" maybe it's really the opposite of what this idea should be called.

Anyhow, the ephemeral nature of postcards has always appealed to me. Postcards aren't quite letters--more like texts, in modern parlance--and usually got thrown away or sold off in estate sales, etc. So, regardless of how banal the messages may be (and really, they never are, because every postcard is a snapshot of a time, place and person), I find them to be portals into a moment with little to no context, around which, with imagination, one can wrap one's own ideas and create flights of fancy.

Another great appeal to me is imagining what it must be like to be on the receiving end of one of the re-sent postcards. Maybe it's a connection to the house's past, to long-dead previous owners. Maybe it's a postcard your mother or father or grandmother or grandfather or even great-grandmother or great-grandfather sent. Maybe it'll make you sad, or nostalgic, or happy, or indifferent if you receive one of these old cards. Who knows?

So the first postcard I'm sending out is to an address in Bethel, Ohio. I will include with each post the front and back of the postcard, as well as the message, date sent from/to, postage used.

I've encouraged recipients to send me any comments, so I'll share them if/when I get them. So follow this blog to see new Postcard Diaspora posts.

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